The Bulls Head is a Grade II listed 18th century riverside inn on the banks of the Thames at Chiswick in the picturesque village of Strand-on-the-Green. With stunning views across the river to Kew, this historic village pub is a superb location for relaxed riverside dining.
In a picturesque riverside location on The Thames, The Bulls Head is a delightful 18th century tavern once used by riverboat and barge captains to arrange crews and cargoes. Licensed since at least 1722, there has been an inn on the site for over 400 years, and legend has it that Oliver Cromwell, after whom Oliver’s Island opposite is named, once used the inn, although the evidence for this is disputed.
Strand-on-the-Green is one of four villages that make up present day Chiswick, along with Little Sutton, Turnham Green and Chiswick itself, and one of the most attractive stretches on the north bank of the Thames, with many listed 18th and 19th century dwellings. The Grade II listed Bulls Head occupies an attractive waterfront position next to the lattice-girdered Kew Rail Bridge, itself a listed structure, with views across to Kew Green and Richmond.
Recently refurbished and with plenty of nooks and crannies, this popular riverside inn is perfect for a relaxing family Sunday lunch or a meal with friends after a walk along the Thames Path, or a visit to the spectacular Kew Gardens just across the river.Read more...
The riverside village of Strand-on-the-Green was originally a small fishing settlement, with a population of just 31 recorded in 1630. Alongside the fishermen’s cottages, public houses like The Bulls Head, together with malthouses and boat-builders sheds, developed in the 18th century, attracted by Chiswick’s growing reputation for producing some of the finest barley in England, which needed transporting by river. By the late 18th century the area had become fashionable due to its proximity to the Royal Palace at Kew, and elegant mansions added to the architectural charm which Strand-on-the-Green, now a conservation area, still retains today.
Just a short walk along The Thames from The Bulls Head, across Kew Bridge and through pretty Kew Green, lies the magnificent park and landscape of Kew Gardens. With four Grade I listed buildings including the iconic Palm House, considered the world’s most important surviving Victorian iron and glass structure, set amongst the world’s largest collection of living plants, Kew Gardens attracts visitors throughout the year. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rare and exotic plants, breathtaking landscapes and historic buildings of Kew form one of London’s most cherished locations.
Guests enjoying a drink and taking in the river view at The Bulls Head will see an island opposite, Oliver’s Island, which is part of a legend about the inn. A plaque on the wall of the pub descibes how, according to the legend, Oliver Cromwell escaped capture by Royalists through a secret tunnel to the island. However, no evidence has been found to support the story, and the myth is believed to have grown up in the 17th century, perhaps an early form of marketing by an enterprising landlord! Oliver’s Island once held a tollbooth, smithy and barge repair facilities, but now the thickly wooded isle is a haven for herons, geese and wildlife.
What is certain is that the Grade II listed Bulls Head stands in an attractive and historic location, on the popular Thames Path stretch from Kew to Putney, with much to see and do in the area, from sight-seeing on the river to the delights of Kew Gardens. Just over a mile from the pub stands the spectacular Chiswick House, one of the finest neo-Palladian stately homes in England. Restored by English Heritage in 2010 and open to the public, the 18th century gardens are the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement, the inspiration for other great gardens.
Whatever the reason for visiting this charming oasis of tranquillity just 6 miles from Central London, The Bulls Head on the banks of The Thames is the ideal place to start or finish a day out. Relax with friends and family and enjoy a sumptuous Sunday roast or a seasonal special accompanied with cask ales and fine wines, in picturesque surroundings at this welcoming 18th century riverside inn.